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Prop. 61 Tests Political Clout Of Ardent Supporter Bernie Sanders

The Vermont senator and former presidential candidate is championing the measure to curb high drug prices, which recent polls suggest is supported by more than half of Californians.

The Fiscal Times: Bernie Sanders Takes On Big Pharma As California Eyes Drug Price Limits
The California Drug Price Relief Act, or Proposition 61, would limit the price that any state agency or health care program pays for prescription drugs to what the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs pays for the same pharmaceuticals. Congress prohibits Medicare and most other agencies from negotiating prescription drug prices, with the notable exception of the VA, a behemoth of an agency which purchases drugs for an estimated 6.6 million patients. Federal law insures that VA medical facilities across the country obtain a discount of at least 24 percent off prescription drugs list prices, and in many cases officials obtain much larger rebates. If Proposition 61 were approved, the VA price list would apply when the state directly purchases drugs, as it does for its prison system, or when it is deemed the “ultimate payer” for drugs provided to certain state health care programs, including Medicaid.The stakes couldn’t be higher for the two sides. (Pianin, 10/26)

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